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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued its priorities for the next 4-year period, running from 2017 through 2021.  Given the demographic and other changes in the U.S. labor force, nature of the U.S. economy and frictions caused by those factors and others in our society the EEOC’s focus is not surprising.  Also not surprising given what we have seen from an assertive EEOC the past several years are what the agency refers to as trends that it is seeing and monitoring in the workforce.

The following are the EEOC’s stated priorities for the next four years:

  • Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring;

  • Protecting vulnerable workers, including immigrant and migrant workers, and under-served communities from discrimination;

  • Addressing selected emerging and developing issues, including 21st century workplace and backlash discrimination;

  • Ensuring equal pay protections for all workers;

  • Preserving access to the legal system; and

  • Preventing system harassment.

The following are trends that have been identified by the EEOC that the agency is monitoring and likely will be looking to engage on in some capacity.  Following what the EEOC does with regard to these issues is critical to understanding the development of legal protections for employees in the workplace:

  • Qualification standards and inflexible leave policies that discriminate against individuals with disabilities;

  • Accommodating pregnancy-related limitations under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA);

  • Protecting lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination based on sex;

  • Clarifying the employment relationship and application of workplace civil rights protections in light of the increasing complexity of employment relationships and structures, including temporary workers, staffing agencies, independent contractor relationships and the on-demand economy; and

  • Addressing discriminatory practices against those who are Muslim or Sikh, or persons of Arab, Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, as well as persons perceived to be members of these groups, arising from backlash against them from tragic events in the U.S. and abroad.

Thompson Coe and myHRgenius Tip of the Week is not intended as a solicitation, does not constitute legal advice, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


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Kevin M. Mosher

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